Thieves hit charity for underprivileged girls

- For some parents, shelling out hundreds of dollars for prom is financially impossible.  That's where the Belle of the Ball Project comes in.

"No girl should be denied the opportunity to attend their high school dance because of financial difficulty," said Chief Merchandising Officer Jessica Papa.

Since 2003, the non-profit has provided more than 4,500 dresses, shoes and accessories to low-income girls.

"It is our boutique. It's not a thrift store. We want to create a wonderful shopping experience," Papa continued.

On Friday, however, someone shattered that experience by breaking through the glass door and stealing nearly $500 worth of jewelry.  Unlike some of the donated items, that jewelry is often purchased by the organization using their limited budget.

"It's really hard on the girls because you can see the disappointment in their face when they didn't get that perfect piece of jewelry," Papa said.

The next shopping day is a week from this Saturday.  Belle of the Ball is hoping to be able to purchase more accessories, but they need help.  The organization accepts donations through its website,

"It's such an experience that the girls get excited about to come into our store. And the fact that some was taken from them is terrible," Papa told FOX 13.

Up Next:

Up Next

  • Thieves hit charity for underprivileged girls
  • Pasco Co. man accused of forging Clerk of Court checks
  • Possible sleep-related infant deaths up in Pinellas
  • Fireworks are no treat for your pet
  • How Florida residents can 'staycation' in style
  • Polk sheriff: Jail overcrowding $900K problem
  • Citizens academy shooting victim's son: "Everybody dropped the ball"
  • Grab the Spam: Kids fish with Sheriff Judd
  • Sarasota donut shop aims for 'ridiculous' creations
  • Car in violent deadly crash may have been racing, police say